June 14 (SeeNews) - Switzerland-based specialty chemicals company Clariant said on Tuesday it has started producing cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste at its recently-inaugurated plant in the southern Romanian county of Dolj.
Over the last six months, the plant underwent a thorough commissioning process resulting in the successful start of production, Clariant said in a press release.
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The entire offtake is contracted with a multi-year agreement to multinational oil and gas company Shell, which aim to become a profitable supplier of sustainable advanced low-carbon fuels as part of its wider work to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.
"Biofuels and biochemicals made from agricultural waste play a crucial role, since they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To establish their use more widely, their commercial production and availability must be increased rapidly, which is why the successful start of our sunliquid plant in Podari is so vital," Clariant CEO Conrad Keijzer said.
Clariant inaugurated the plant at the end of May, following an investment of 140 million euro ($1480 million). Some 40 million euro from the total investment came from EU funds.
Contracts with more than 300 local farmers have been signed to ensure the supply of the necessary feedstock.
Based in Podari commune, the facility will process approximately 250,000 tonnes of straw to produce 50,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol per year.
The chemicals company broke ground for the plant in September 2018 and completed its construction last October, when it estimated that production would begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Clariant was formed in 1995 as a spin-off from Sandoz. Headquartered near Basel, the company employs over 13,235 globally.